Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Mission Impossible

I’m kind of lost.

I told Grandpa Munster not long ago that after the expiry of the relevant court-order this January 2016, there was no way he was going to have to endure any more interrogation and abuse, which he has endured for many years, from the pair of court-appointed so-called therapists who one lawyer describes as “…more nutty and batty than any of their clients;” a pair of crack-pots who no client in their right mind would ever pay for so-called psychological treatment out of their own pocket, but who have gotten rich from a 25-year Scooterville courthouse monopoly via duped taxpayers, strictly for playing watch-dog with former sex offenders. Watch dogs of the snapping snarling variety, if what I’m told is true from several of their gratefully-former associates .

I’ve watched him cry, rage and panic over these visits for almost three years now; more than the normal time-frame for this court-order, the last set of orders to stipulate mandatory therapy (and 13 other directives) which are traditionally intended to expire, leaving one very reasonable set of orders remaining for life.

A couple days ago we learned that authorities wish to extend the current orders for another two years for reasons which make it fairly clear that they will keep at it indefinitely; reasons which are hilariously bogus. Personally I’m agreeable to the optional orders in theory, if they were managed by authorities in an enlightened way, but threatening to contest said orders in court is probably Munster’s only bargaining chip with regards to escaping his therapeutic torment.

Gramps is sixty-five and appears significantly older due to poor health and medical neglect from living in a government-appointed group home serviced by a rug rat doctor who has probably also never had a client who wasn’t railroaded to him through government contract.

He has a severe learning disability and severe anxiety disorder (which have never been addressed by his therapists) and is entirely stupefied by any contact with authorities, including the therapists themselves who intentionally posture themselves as authorities and take constant liberties, telling him what he can do and can’t do (in the guise of treatment, I presume they would claim, not that they permit anyone to ask).

Gramps has not committed a crime in decades.

Our core strategy was to acquire legal recognition of his disabilities, his inability to satisfactorily represent himself in legal affairs and the right to designate an advocate to speak on his behalf, whether a lawyer or myself.

Confident in all the options and tools I understood to be at our disposal, I made a personal guarantee to Gramps that he would be done with his oppressors in January; that I would not allow it to continue; that I would ensure it was stopped by any means necessary. I knew it to be a grave injustice which weakens, not aids, Gramps’ mental health, making it more difficult, not easier, to be productive and safe in the community; an injustice I was prepared to fight by any means possible, within the law, and possibly beyond.

And one by one, all the tools and options fell apart in the space of one long morning.

We got off the phone with the lawyer yesterday, having a stack of hopes dashed, and sat there feeling quite incredibly alone in the world. We studied the dismal options for a couple more hours, and made the desperate move to put our hopes in one police detective. We literally crossed no-man’s land to seek help from the “enemy.”

I coached Gramps at exasperating length until he summoned the courage. He made the phone call and convinced Good Cop to meet with him without the therapists’ (Bad Cops) presence, but then fell apart trying to arrange my participation in the meeting. He cried for a while and cursed himself for his stupidity and the mess he’d made of his life. I plied him with praise and support. He called back to try again and miraculously Good Cop agreed to let me attend “for moral support,” and added, “But I’m not going to argue with him!”

I coached Gramps for a couple more hours yesterday and again today before the meeting. The strategy was solid:

1 - Find out Good Cop’s intentions regarding renewal of the court-order.
2 - Indicate that you will fight the order in court for the reasons that the therapy is dysfunctional and intolerable. Use firm words: “I can’t take it anymore!”
3 - Don’t talk about cutting a deal yet (accepting the orders with the proviso that a new therapist be appointed.)
And 4 - end the meeting swiftly without mentioning any of our other plans and concerns. “Anything else Good Cop asks, you’re not ready to talk about it yet.”

The three of us sat down, and before Good Cop had anything relevant to say, Gramps fell apart. Every plan went swiftly out the window as he volunteered that he understood he would need a renewal of orders and cautiously suggested that the therapy was not ideal; not comfortable. “Could I please have someone else?” He would go on to volunteer all sorts of ideas which I’d counsel him not to, before I could stop him.

Knowing that police make notes and will use one’s words against you, knowing the great risks, feeling the tremendous pressure of opportunity versus jeopardy, I made the tough decision to jump in and prayed to get away with it. I adopted the posture that I was on Good Cop’s side (having intentionally sat beside him) and began questioning Gramps. “Are you being honest right now?” But every question was designed to push him in the right direction. For the next 45 minutes I interjected constantly: “Didn’t you tell me that they call you a liar when you’re telling the truth…? That you’re scared of them and intimidated by them…? That you hate them…? That you come home from appointments and cry…? And then get angry and take out your anger on other, less fortunate residents…? Didn’t you tell me that getting away from them was the most important thing in your life…? That you’d rather go back to prison then to have to see them another two years…? That you’d rather be dead than see them another two years…? That you wish they were dead!”

Good Cop listened to all this and more as Gramps tediously tried to indicate that I was not wrong and that he opens up to me more truthfully than to anyone else, while still trying to be Good Cop’s loyal lap dog and not be disagreeable with him. It was painful to witness.

Miraculously, Good Cop indicated it was somewhat possible to arrange a different therapist but he was not in favor of it. He indicated it might be possible to remove a couple other stipulations which have become unnecessarily restrictive. He even suggested he could do a one-year order instead of two.

I was thrilled to hear of possible concessions and grateful for his apparent openness. It became apparent to me that Good Cop dearly wished to avoid a court battle over these orders which are normally agreed upon between police and offenders and expedited in court. I knew that Gramps had some power though he had no courage to use it.

It was a long meeting but cutting to the chase: Gramps agreed (to me regret) to meet with he and the therapists tomorrow, without me, to address these complaints and that if they could not be resolved, there would be a further meeting with the same foursome plus myself and one or two officials from the Circles of Support organization (of which I am a volunteer member but currently acting entirely outside that capacity—their mandate does not permit my current level of potentially-adversarial involvement.) I am Gramps’ unofficial advocate who thus far only participates at the whim and mercy of his oppressors.

Was Good Cop as cautiously gracious as he appeared, or is he luring Gramps into the wolfs’ den to be coerced into a reconciliation of some theatrical degree?

I must expect that Gramps will go into the meeting tomorrow, without me, and completely freeze and sell the farm. There is no hope of him standing up to his tormentors to their faces. I know that. I can only pray that he doesn’t sign anything or agree to anything in terms of renewal of supervisory orders, and that whatever great volume of damage he does, playing lap dog to them, I can somehow later undo.

I thought we’d have a lawyer on our side, you see, but it seems that legal aid will not provide such without a potential jail sentence in the equation.

I feel like it suddenly became Gramps and I against the world, but then – just  me against the world, fighting for Gramps, with him somewhere in between, being used against himself.

1 comment:

IntrepidReader said...

What a terrible and frustrating situation! I feel so badly for Gramps that he can't stand up for himself and I admire you very much for your efforts to help in this impossible ordeal. My heart goes out to you both.